Auggy sent me this one, and I’m still on the fence about it.
This is the second Darjeeling I’ve ever tried (after Golden Moon’s Darjeeling), so I don’t have much to compare it to, but I do know it usually comes tagged with words like “muscatel” and “the champagne of teas.”
Anyway, this looks like a slightly higher-quality black, leaf-wise. Pretty and twisty, and dry it smells like grape juice! Okay, maybe not so potent in a Welsh’s way, but there’s similar smells going on. I steeped this one up, and from the wet leaves I could immediately smell an almost sour-wine smell. Very grape-like, mixed with bake-y undertones. I’m serious. And the infusion, surprisingly just had hints of nutty-cocoa-black smells. I could smell a little bit of sweetness coming off the vapors that would give me a nice facial if I just sat there and waited, but I’m eager to try it.
This is where things get confusing. At first, this tea tastes like sour, unripe grapes! Seriously. Like something bad happened at the vineyard and they gave me wine with grapes that just weren’t quite there yet. There are kind of wine-y, fruity notes, but they’re really getting drowned out by the sour grapes of WRATH.
But then something magical happens and it’s like someone dumped out my cup when I wasn’t looking and replaced it with a completely different tea. When the tea cooled to a proper level, it even smelled different. The typical black-tea-smell had given way to a grape-y fruitiness (I guess this is where I can use big words like muscatel), and there was a nice, sweet smell emanating from the cup.
And now the taste has radically changed as well, just from the cup cooling down! It’s not sour at all anymore, but rather, sweet. There’s just a hint of grape-sweetness, and the black flavors have become more balanced, so I’m getting some smokiness, nuttiness, and light cocoa tones. There’s still a slight touch of tartness at the end of each sip, but now it’s very pleasant. Even the astringency levels seem to have gone down.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! It’s like my star tea got swapped in for a much hotter, cuter stunt double that should really be in the limelight.
I’m going to do a second steep the next time I make this, because I already tossed the leaves, but it’s definitely worth waiting for this to cool down to drink it. Really bizarre.